The threat of having a virus on your phone may sound alarming to many consumers considering the irreversible damage it may cause to your device, but according to Google’s Open Source Programs Manager, Chris DiBona, that sort of fear may actually be an unfounded one spread around by “scammers” and “charlatans.”

In a recent post on his Google+ page, DiBona lashed out at detractors of opensource software, antivirus developers, and security analysts:

Sometimes I read an article about open source that drives me nuts. A recent one stated, without irony, that ‘critics have been pounding the table for years about open source being inherently insecure’ and that android is festooned with viruses because of that and because we do not exert apple like controls over the app market.

DiBona’s statement clearly opens up his thoughts about how critics are often bashing Android for being open source and about how Android does not execute strict guidelines (a la Apple) on what application gets published in the Android Market.

Since Android’s inception, virus problems have never posed a huge problem to the Android operating system. The sandboxing model and the outlying kernels used by many mobile operating systems have already placed a halt on the circulation of such threats.  DiBona added:

[Virus] companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and IOS. They are charlatans and scammers. IF you work for a company selling virus protection for android, rim or IOS you should be ashamed of yourself.

Furthermore, DiBona minced no words towards security analysts that claim viruses are infecting mobile operating systems:

If you read an analyst report about ‘viruses’ infecting ios, android or rim, you now know that analyst firm is not honest and is staffed with charlatans. There is probably an exception, but extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence.

If you read a report from a vendor that trys to sell you something based on protecting android, rim or ios from viruses they are also likely as not to be scammers and charlatans.

DiBona’s opinion of software analyst firms such as those conducting surveys of anti-virus software is a strong and firm one: you should not always trust such reports.

Have you ever had a virus infiltrate your Android device?  Do you think Android’s being opensource is to be blamed for such infection?


Paul Nuñal
Paul and I.T. are synonyms. If you need help with I.T.-related stuff, call on Paul. His experience with Android phones goes way back to the ancient single-core-phone days. But, he keeps himself up to date, so now he has a dual-core beast in his pocket, and is looking forward to getting his first quad-core monster, and when it comes, his first eight-core phone. Perhaps he should be called Mr. X-Core, where "X" equals the number of CPU cores.
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